The Week Ahead from Mon 13th Dec 2010: Paul McCartney, Elton John, Manic Street Preachers, Soulwax, The Pogues and more

We all need something hot to melt the icy temperatures outside, but even the likes of Paul Weller, Madness and Billy Bragg have succumbed to the snow by calling off concerts during the past week or so. Let's hope we all fair better next week, because there are some of the biggest names in rock and pop history performing far and wide.

All prices are exclusive of booking fees. For ticket availability, click on the images, below.

Tours and Festivals

Paul McCartney
 

Paul McCartney

Macca recently announced his two most intimate gigs in many years with London and Liverpool and all within the same time-scale as our Friday on-sales round-up - could this be another first, being mentioned in three articles in the same week? Of course he planned it with us first (cough) and if you were lucky enough to get tickets for Hammersmith (Sat) or Liverpool (Mon 20th), enjoy!

Elton John
 

Elton John

On any normal week, Elton would probably be sitting on the top of The Week Ahead pile, but instead he is in second place with this sold-out Dublin date on Wednesday. He'll be joined by songwriter Ray Cooper and you may still be able to pick up a pair of resales from our trusted agent.

Manic Street Preachers
 

Manic Street Preachers

Nicky Wire dazzled us with his cooking skills on Sunday's Something For The Weekend, but on Tuesday and Wednesday next week he'll be carving up some basslines at their Birmingham headline date, as well as at London's XFM Winter Wonderland 2010 slot, the latter of which has sold out. The Brum gig is still for sale for £26.50 and with British Sea Power in support, that's gotta be a value ticket.

Soulwax - Photo: Alex Salinas www.alexsalinas.com
 
Photo: Alex Salinas www.alexsalinas.com

Soulwax

It's a trio of full-on Brixton hedonism for you next week, when the Ghent-based duo unleash the Jeckyl and Hyde of their musical personalities with slots by their alter-ego, 2 Many Djs also on offer. Tickets are still available for the Thursday gig, priced at £20. Happy Soulwaxmas indeed!

Deadmau5 Aftershow
 

Deadmau5 - Aftershow

This is a slightly cheeky bit of branding - it's the Deadmau5 Official Aftershow Party that doesn't actually feature Deadmau5 (he will be too busy ramping up the funk at the Braehead Arena on the same night), but no doubt he will poke his head round the door on Friday night. £24 gets you Pete Tong, Annie Mac, Benga, Skream and Calvin Harris deejaying.

The Pogues
 

The Pogues

Responsible for THAT song with the late Kirsty MacColl, The Pogues are unmissable! Shane Macgowan and his charges touch down in Glasgow on Monday for the start of their farewell tour, a sad time indeed. All the dates are sold out except for Sheffield on Thursday (£24) and the Brixton date on the 22nd (£31 - there are also seats only left for the 20th).

Shakira
 

Shakira

Shaking her 'waka-waka's (and who can blame her in this chilly wind) is Shakira with the UK/Ireland leg of her World Tour. As we reported last week, tickets are starting to shift quickly despite being a bit steep (£40) and all dates from Manchester on Tuesday onwards are still available.

Ian Brown
 

Ian Brown

There are resales around for his Nottingham and York gigs starting at £39, but the final bash at Manchester's Warehouse Project has all but sold out. Northside, erstwhile baggy-contenders from the Factory Records days, hook up with the Stone Roses/Freebass mucker Mani for a Christmas one-off at the Leicester Musician on Friday (£12).

Saint Etienne - Image: www.saintetienne.com
 

Saint Etienne

Billed as the 'Thank Christ it's Christmas' tour, Sarah Cracknell and her boys bring the albums "Good Humor" and "Tales From Turnpike House" to Glasgow, Manchester and Kentish Town next week, with tickets costing £17.50-£22.50. There will also be special guests and Djs announced on the night.

Idlewild - Image:www.idlewild.co.uk
 

Idlewild

Three under-rated bands appear next week, starting with Scotland's Idlewild playing tracks from "100 Broken Windows" (reissued recently). Their London date sold out ages ago, but the others from Monday onwards are purchasable for around £15. The Silencers are back for another Christmas knees-up on Saturday night in Glasgow (£15), while 90s indie-rockers Diesel Park West entertain the crowd at Leicester's Musician on Friday (£10).

The Fisherman's Friends
 

The Fisherman's Friends

Cornwall's tremendous singing trawlermen are back in action for what should be an incredible Christmas concert on Saturday night. Islington's splendid Union Chapel is the venue and tickets are still up for grabs at £20. Barbara Dickson will be performing at a Scottish spectacular in Dunfermline on Saturday (£21.50), while folk-legend John Renbourn adds a bit of tinsel to Manchester's Green Room on Thursday (£14.50).

Fear Factory - Image: www.fearfactory.com
 

Fear Factory

Some big names in Metal are on the aural assault, with Fear Factory leading the pack with a short tour beginning in Nottingham on Wednesday - all dates are available from £16.50. Helmet will crank up the riffs from Wednesday as well, starting in London and continuing to Manchester and Glasgow (up to £17.50), industrial-metallers Laibach have London and Glasgow 30th anniversary dates from Wednesday (£18.50) and finally get all glammed-up for Tigertailz' only UK appearance on Thursday at London's Scala (£15).

Lady Gaga - Image: www.ladygaga.com
 

Lady Gaga

Also playing next week are the following big names who have successfully sold out their concerts - Lady GaGa at the O2 Arena (both the Thursday and Friday have sold out, save for resales - £76 though), David Guetta at the Warehouse Project in Manchester (resales at £50) and Ray Davies at the Royal Festival Hall on Sunday.

Arts, Theatre and Comedy

The Just So Stories - Image: www.kingsheadtheatre.com
 

The Just So Stories

London's King's Head Theatre presents this charming selection of children's stories by Rudyard Kipling from Wednesday onwards, with familiar tales such as "How The Camel Got His Hump" and "How The Leopard Got His Spots". Tickets are a very reasonable £6.30 to £10.30 and the residency continues until 9th January.

Tannhäuser
 

Tannhäuser

Once again the Royal Opera House sets about performing a stunning Wagner piece, this time it's the turn of the enigmatic and powerful Tannhäuser. Extra performances have now been added, which basically means the first performance now begins earlier. Tickets for the Wednesday and Sunday shows start at £14.50.

Zippo's Christmas Circus
 

Zippo's Christmas Circus

Performing at Birmingham's out-of-town Star City district is this world-famous circus for all the family. No animals will be harmed during the fortnight from Thursday onwards, it's acrobatic humans all the way. Tickets cost from £7 upwards and you will be seated in a heated Big Top!

A Slice of Saturday Night - Image: www.upstairsatthegatehouse.com
 

A Slice of Saturday Night

Two smaller theatres will present new productions next week, starting with the Highgate Gatehouse's musical by The Heather Brothers that tells the story of a 60's nightclub romance. "A Slice Of Saturday Night" plays from Friday onwards, priced at £10 upwards. Meanwhile in south-east London, the Greenwich Playhouse will feature Oscar Wilde's A Woman of no Importance from Tuesday onwards, priced at £10 upwards.

Russell Kane
 

Russell Kane

It's Christmas events all the way for the award-winning Kane, starting with a rare appearance in Kingston on Monday. Tickets are just £7 for full comedy support at the Fighting Cocks venue. If you can't make that bash, try his other shows on Thursday (Edinburgh - supporting The Bootleg Beatles, £23.50), Saturday (in Oxford, £15) and Sunday (Darlington with Jason Cook, £8).

Ronna and Beverly - Image: www.ronnaandbeverly.com
 

Ronna and Beverly

Intrinsically bitchy and perennially kitsch, this spoof chat-show pairing from Jewish-America are sure to turn up the heat by grilling guests about their lives, before offering unwanted advice. The guests are a surprise until the actual night begins, with the first show on Monday. Tickets are just £10 for the month-long residency at the Soho Theatre.

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